Thursday, October 19, 2006

Retaining Customers is Everyone’s Business

People departmentalize companies for the sake of efficiency, but by doing so they lose something in the process. People need to think of the company as a whole business where everyone understands each other’s roles and shares a common goal – the success of the business. They also need to grasp that having a vested interest in each other’s success is to the company’s benefit.

  • Share Goals
Shared goals are critical for encouraging people to be on equal footing. If one department’s staff feel subservient to another it creates friction and competition which run counter to the objective. But establishing shared goals takes time. For a mid-sized company of 1,000 to 2,000 employees it can take 18 months.

  • Understand the company
If your staff doesn’t understand the company they work for and the internal mechanisms that make it hum, how on earth will their customers? Effective communicators will be able to transmit what clients’ expectations are and what promises can realistically be made.

  • Improve relationships
Make sure the message of shared goals does not simply become a director vs. support staff issue. Otherwise your company will be divided by the perception that there’s a disconnect between the executives and the rest of the staff.

  • Make the most of current data
It’s estimated that most companies lose 10 percent to 30 percent of their established customers each year. Listen to your current customers and respond to their needs. Every company needs prospects but it’d important not to lose your customers once you have them. Listen to what they tell you. Measure current customer retention, review account goals and referrals. It may take two or three years to reverse the trend, but stay with it.

  • Sell results
Do you research and get figures from middle management to get executive level support. If you can demonstrate to them that there are problems affecting the bottom line, but ones that can be corrected to the benefit of the company, you’ve got their ear.

By getting everyone to see they share a stake in the business by understanding how it functions, you’ll build a stronger business.

No comments: